Special Issue "Genetic Manipulation of Fungal Model Organisms"

A special issue of Journal of Fungi (ISSN 2309-608X). This special issue belongs to the section "Fungal Genomics, Genetics and Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 28 February 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Michaela Lackner
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Medical University of Innsbruck, Innsbruck, Austria
Interests: human pathogenic fungi; antifungal resistance; diagnostic microbiology
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Dr. Mikhail Keniya
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Faculty of Dentistry, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
Interests: yeast; S. cerevisiae; heterologous expression; Cyp51; antifungal resistance; drug discovery; membrane transporters

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fungi are one of the fundamental kingdoms in the biosphere, estimated to comprise around 3 to 6 million species in total. At present, about 150,000 fungal species have been described; out of these, about 8000 are known to cause infections in plants and about 700 species have been described to cause infections in humans and other animals. Despite this diversity, only a few fungal model organisms have been well established to study their pathogenicity, virulence potential, antifungal resistance mechanisms, metabolic pathways, and signaling pathways. Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Neurospora crassa, and Aspergillus nidulans represent the well-established models, while novel methods such as CRISPR/Cas have contributed to engaging with additional fungal model organisms, and the list of suitable fungi is open.

In this Special Issue, we will cover some recent advances linked to novel molecular techniques and the development of additional fungal models. We aim to (a) highlight new methods proposed to elaborate properties suitable for a model organism, (b) provide an overview on emerging model species, and (c) give insights into the diversity of genetic and molecular biological manipulations that are available. We believe that a series of articles in this issue will fuse the demand of users and skills of developers of fungal models and satisfy those interested in frontiers of mycology.

Dr. Michaela Lackner
Dr. Mikhail Keniya
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Journal of Fungi is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • fungal model
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae
  • Aspergillus species
  • Neurospora crassa
  • Candida species
  • mucoromycetes
  • CRISPR/Cas
  • novel model organisms
  • clinical isolates
  • molecular tools

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

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Article
Transcription Factor MaMsn2 Regulates Conidiation Pattern Shift under the Control of MaH1 through Homeobox Domain in Metarhizium acridum
J. Fungi 2021, 7(10), 840; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7100840 - 07 Oct 2021
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Abstract
The growth pattern of filamentous fungi can switch between hyphal radial polar growth and non-polar yeast-like cell growth depending on the environmental conditions. Asexual conidiation after radial polar growth is called normal conidiation (NC), while yeast-like cell growth is called microcycle conidiation (MC). [...] Read more.
The growth pattern of filamentous fungi can switch between hyphal radial polar growth and non-polar yeast-like cell growth depending on the environmental conditions. Asexual conidiation after radial polar growth is called normal conidiation (NC), while yeast-like cell growth is called microcycle conidiation (MC). Previous research found that the disruption of MaH1 in Metarhizium acridum led to a conidiation shift from NC to MC. However, the regulation mechanism is not clear. Here, we found MaMsn2, an Msn2 homologous gene in M. acridum, was greatly downregulated when MaH1 was disrupted (ΔMaH1). Loss of MaMsn2 also caused a conidiation shift from NC to MC on a nutrient-rich medium. Yeast one-hybrid (Y1H) and electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) showed that MaH1 could bind to the promoter region of the MaMsn2 gene. Disrupting the interaction between MaH1 and the promoter region of MaMsn2 significantly downregulated the transcription level of MaMsn2, and the overexpression of MaMsn2 in ΔMaH1 could restore NC from MC of ΔMaH1. Our findings demonstrated that MaMsn2 played a role in maintaining the NC pattern directly under the control of MaH1, which revealed the molecular mechanisms that regulated the conidiation pattern shift in filamentous fungi for the first time. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Manipulation of Fungal Model Organisms)
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Article
DNA Methylation on N6-Adenine Regulates the Hyphal Development during Dimorphism in the Early-Diverging Fungus Mucor lusitanicus
J. Fungi 2021, 7(9), 738; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7090738 - 08 Sep 2021
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Abstract
The epigenetic modifications control the pathogenicity of human pathogenic fungi, which have been poorly studied in Mucorales, causative agents of mucormycosis. This order belongs to a group referred to as early-diverging fungi that are characterized by high levels of N6-methyldeoxy adenine (6mA) in [...] Read more.
The epigenetic modifications control the pathogenicity of human pathogenic fungi, which have been poorly studied in Mucorales, causative agents of mucormycosis. This order belongs to a group referred to as early-diverging fungi that are characterized by high levels of N6-methyldeoxy adenine (6mA) in their genome with dense 6mA clusters associated with actively expressed genes. AlkB enzymes can act as demethylases of 6mA in DNA, with the most remarkable eukaryotic examples being mammalian ALKBH1 and Caenorhabditis elegans NMAD-1. The Mucor lusitanicus (formerly M. circinelloides f. lusitanicus) genome contains one gene, dmt1, and two genes, dmt2 and dmt3, encoding proteins similar to C. elegans NMAD-1 and ALKBH1, respectively. The function of these three genes was analyzed by the generation of single and double deletion mutants for each gene. Multiple processes were studied in the mutants, but defects were only found in single and double deletion mutants for dmt1. In contrast to the wild-type strain, dmt1 mutants showed an increase in 6mA levels during the dimorphic transition, suggesting that 6mA is associated with dimorphism in M. lusitanicus. Furthermore, the spores of dmt1 mutants challenged with macrophages underwent a reduction in polar growth, suggesting that 6mA also has a role during the spore–macrophage interaction that could be important in the infection process. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Manipulation of Fungal Model Organisms)
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Protocol
Agrobacterium tumefaciens-Mediated Transformation of NHEJ Mutant Aspergillus nidulans Conidia: An Efficient Tool for Targeted Gene Recombination Using Selectable Nutritional Markers
J. Fungi 2021, 7(11), 961; https://doi.org/10.3390/jof7110961 - 12 Nov 2021
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Abstract
Protoplast transformation for the introduction of recombinant DNA into Aspergillus nidulans is technically demanding and dependant on the availability and batch variability of commercial enzyme preparations. Given the success of Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) in diverse pathogenic fungi, we have adapted this [...] Read more.
Protoplast transformation for the introduction of recombinant DNA into Aspergillus nidulans is technically demanding and dependant on the availability and batch variability of commercial enzyme preparations. Given the success of Agrobacterium tumefaciens-mediated transformation (ATMT) in diverse pathogenic fungi, we have adapted this method to facilitate transformation of A. nidulans. Using suitably engineered binary vectors, gene-targeted ATMT of A. nidulans non-homologous end-joining (NHEJ) mutant conidia has been carried out for the first time by complementation of a nutritional requirement (uridine/uracil auxotrophy). Site-specific integration in the ΔnkuA host genome occurred at high efficiency. Unlike other transformation techniques, however, cross-feeding of certain nutritional requirements from the bacterium to the fungus was found to occur, thus limiting the choice of auxotrophies available for ATMT. In complementation tests and also for comparative purposes, integration of recombinant cassettes at a specific locus could provide a means to reduce the influence of position effects (chromatin structure) on transgene expression. In this regard, targeted disruption of the wA locus permitted visual identification of transformants carrying site-specific integration events by conidial colour (white), even when auxotrophy selection was compromised due to cross-feeding. The protocol described offers an attractive alternative to the protoplast procedure for obtaining locus-targeted A. nidulans transformants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Genetic Manipulation of Fungal Model Organisms)
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